Excellent motion on IHRA, passed by branches in Kilburn and Hampstead CLP

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Conference notes that:

  • The IHRA is raised in the context of a campaign to demoralise and destroy the left, cut off solidarity with Palestine, provoke a Party split, and discredit Corbyn even comparing him to racist Tory Enoch Powell, slandering members as an “existential threat” to Jews;
  • The 4th September NEC refused Corbyn’s clause defending the right to criticise Israel.
  • Palestinian civil society and over 100 UK BAME groups condemned IHRA;
  • Israel was founded on the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians; its institutional racism was codified on 19 July 2018 by the Knesset’s Basic Law;
  • The Rule Book says, “The work of the Party shall be under the direction and control of Party conference”;

Conference believes that:

  • The implementation of IHRA will end free speech on Israel/Palestine, will not placate those hostile to Corbyn and the left, will not reduce antisemitism but undermine antiracism by prioritising one form of discrimination above all others, creating divisions among us;
  • Party members must be free to call Israel “a racist endeavour”;
  • This must be resolved by Conference.

Conference resolves to:

  • Call on the outgoing NEC to reverse its decision on IHRA and, in consultation with the Conference Arrangements Committee, to ensure time for delegates to resolve this matter on the Conference floor by vote;
  • Remove IHRA from the Code of Conduct regardless of NEC recommendations;
  • Promote free speech in the UK
  • Continue our solidarity with the Palestinian people by endorsing BDS and calling for a two-way arms embargo.

Draft contemporary motion on the IHRA definition on Antisemitism

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This draft motion has been written with the Labour Party conference in mind, but of course you can use it in any other context.

  • Contemporary motions to Labour Party conference need to deal with issues that have arisen only recently and cannot be longer than 250 words.
  • They do not have to be submitted to a branch first, but please submit it asap to your CLP secretary. CLPs can either submit a contemporary motion or a rule change motion to conference.
  • CLPs need to submit their motion to the Conference Arrangements Committee by  September 13.

1. We note:

1.1. That recently there has been mounting pressure on the Labour Party to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working document on Antisemitism. This consists of a 38 word definition and eleven illustrative examples. The definition and seven of the examples have been adopted by the NEC.

1.2 Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, calls the document “bewilderingly imprecise”. Appeals court judge Stephen Sedley believes that the document would place “Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism”. Hugh Tomlinson QC warns that it has “a chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

1.3. That one of the four particularly disputed examples would ban the description of Israel as a “racist” state.

2. We believe:

2.1. That freedom of speech on the question of Palestine and Israel is of utmost importance.

2.2. Adopting the full IHRA document would conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism.

2.3. Adopting the full IHRA document could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Labour Party members, for example those who criticise as racist the adoption of the new Israeli ‘Nation-State’ law.

2.3. That the campaign to adopt the full IHRA document is driven by forces who are hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and want to get rid of him.

3. We resolve:

3.1. To reject the full IHRA document.

 

Reinstate Stan Keable! Model motion for union/Labour/other organisations

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Please delete and amend as necessary

1. This branch/CLP/organisation notes with great concern: 

1.1. the dismissal of Stan Keable by Hammersmith and Fulham Labour council on April 21 2018. After 17 years service as a housing enforcer, he is supposed to have “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime. He said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square. This had nothing to do with work. Stan was participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour counter-demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the right-wing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration. The conversation was secretly filmed by the BBC’s David Grossman, who put a 105-second video clip online.

1.2. that the Council’s justification for dismissal is based on Stan attending the JVL counter-demonstration, by which he “knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about his views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the council’s code of conduct”.

1.3. that the right to express one’s views and to go on demonstrations are important democratic rights. Freedom of expression and freedom ofassemblyare guaranteed in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

2. We further note: 

2.1. that Unison has withdrawn its support (except at branch level) because Stan rejected the advice of its regional organiser to plead guilty, which would have meant abandoning the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

3. We believe:

3.1. that Stan’s dismissal is wholly unjust and must be reversed.

3.2. this dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. We fear that Stan’s dismissal could be the first of many political sackings.

4. We resolve to:

4.1. call on Hammersmith & Fulham council to reinstate Stan;

4.2. call on the Unison leadership to support Stan in his fight for reinstatement;

4.3. donate £50/£100/£250 [delete as necessary] to his campaign for reinstatement, and circulate/promote his GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable;

4.4. affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt [local or regional organisations £25, national organisations £100];

4.5.  sponsor the ‘Reinstate Stan Keable’ lobby of Hammersmith and Fulham Council meeting, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street W6 9JU, Monday July 16th, from 5pm to 7:15pm (Council meeting starts 7pm).

To be sent to:

Tonbridge and Malling CLP: motion passed on Marc Wadsworth, June 2 2018

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This CLP notes that:  

  • Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
  • his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;
  • his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This CLP believes:

  • that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a unaccountable and unelected disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This CLP therefore:  

  • supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
  • calls on the General Secretary to speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

 

Ecclesall branch: motion on Marc Wadsworth

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Motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, passed on May 14 2018

1. Ecclesall branch (Hallam Sheffield CLP) notes that

  • On April 27 2018 Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the Labour Party for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
  • Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that, at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic by criticising her for “working hand in hand” with a reporter from the Daily Telegraph, who had passed a press release to her.
  • Ruth Smeeth stated at the expulsion hearing that she “felt” Marc Wadsworth was being anti-Semitic. That was sufficient for Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to uphold this charge.
  • Marc Wadsworth is a veteran anti-racist campaigner. As chair of the Labour Party Black Sections (1986-1988), he helped four of its members to get elected as MPs in 1987. He founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 and helped the parents of Stephen Lawrence set up their campaign for justice and introduced them to Nelson Mandela.
  1. Ecclesall branch believes that:
  • Nothing that Marc Wadsworth did or said at the launch of the Chakrabarti report was even vaguely anti-Semitic.
  • The fact that somebody “feels” they have experienced anti-Semitism, or any other form of prejudice, is not enough. The NCC’s decision not to require any proof or evidence sets a dangerous precedent for the acceptance of politically motivated allegations.
  • Chris Williamson MP was right to call thedecision to expel Marc Wadsworth “perverse”. He was also right to criticise the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”, namely the purging or muzzling of members who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.
  • Despite the growing number of fallacious allegations of anti-Semitism (by a group of anti-Corbyn MPs in cooperation with the mainstream media) the number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheld remains tiny.
  1. Ecclesall branch demands:An end to the practice of automatic, instant expulsion or suspension of Labour Party members (apart from in exceptional circumstances:
  • A member accused of a breach of rule must be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser
  • Membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed;
  • Disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months must be automatically dropped.
  • Disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials.

Queen’s Park branch

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On 10 May 2018  the Queen’s Park branch of the Labour Party (in Hampstead & Kilburn CLP) adopted the motion below nem con and with one abstention:
________________________

This branch notes that:

·         Marc Wadsworth, a leading Black antiracist activist, was expelled from the Labour Party – with no right of appeal – on April 27, 2018, charged with bringing the Party into disrepute;
·         his expulsion followed 22 months of suspension from membership;

·         his expulsion was not for antisemitism, despite continuous prejudicial media coverage falsely accusing him of antisemitic abuse at the media launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

This branch believes:

·         that the party has indeed been brought into disrepute, not by Marc Wadsworth’s non-abusive remark at the Report launch, but by the actions of PLP members publicly denouncing him as an antisemite; by the adherence of the entrenched party bureaucracy to a disciplinary system which was not fit for purpose; and by its failure to put in place a system conforming with principles of natural justice, which should be automatic in any labour movement organisation.

This branch therefore:

·         supports Marc Wadsworth’s campaign to clear his name of the antisemitism slur and for reinstatement as a member of the Labour Party;
·         calls on the new General Secretary to:
o   speedily implement Chakrabarti’s recommendations designed to reform flawed party rules and structures to ensure prompt, fair and transparent handling of disciplinary complaints against members, with right of appeal and including presumption of innocence and fact-based judgements that do not rely on guilt by association

Motion passed by Grantham LP branch: Marc Wadsworth

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Motion passed by Grantham Labour Party branch

This Branch notes the recent expulsion of veteran Labour Party activist and anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth on the
grounds of “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”. This Branch believes that this decision is unjustified, undermines the freedom to debate within the Labour Party, and therefore the decision itself brings the Labour Party into disrepute. This Branch further believes that Marc Wadsworth should be re-instated.

Jewish Voice for Labour condemns Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion

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Passed unanimously at Jewish Voice For Labour’s AGM on April 29:

JVL condemns the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, and the procedures that led up to it, on the back of a scurrilous campaign to damage his reputation by falsely branding him as an antisemite.  We fully support the campaign for his reinstatement.  We note that the decision to expel Marc was based on grounds not of antisemitism but on the convenient claim of bringing the Party into disrepute.  It is a bitter irony that what really does bring the party into disrepute are unprincipled campaigns to demonise members, in particular people of colour, and the failure by the hitherto entrenched bureaucracy to implement the processes to ensure natural justice proposed in the Chakrabarti report.
 
We demand justice for Marc and the rapid adoption of speedy, fair and transparent disciplinary procedures.

LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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Feel free to change and amend. Please send us successfully passed motions to info@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org and we will publish them.

You can download the motion in Word format here. 

1. This branch/CLPs notes that:

1.1 Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

1.2 An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook). Continue Reading “LAW model motion on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

Complaints and disciplinary procedures in the Labour Party 

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The motion below was passed unanimously by Ceredigion CLP on 27th April.

This CLP calls on the NEC to ensure:

1) that there are fair and transparent procedures and processes in relation to the suspension and expulsion of members from the party, including the right of appeal, and

2) similarly, that there are fair and transparent procedures and processes in relation to the suspension and partial suspension of CLPs and other party units.

We call for:

  • transparency both of the procedures in general and also of the processes in particular cases;
  • supportiveness within the process both for those who are bringing charges and also for those who are the subject of charges;
  • an initial presumption of innocence across the board;
  • clear statement of the exact nature of charges;
  • identification of those bringing charges;
  • reliance on verified, fact-based evidence;
  • reasonable time scales for dealing with cases including the right of challenge and reply;
  • and proportionality of disciplinary measures.

We recognise the need for the involvement and initiative of paid officials in order to encourage the speedy examination and resolution of difficult situations, but we call on the NEC to ensure that all decisions of paid officials are

  1. a) based on agreed and well-publicised procedures and values, and
  2. b) subject to supervision, review and revision by elected post-holders and elected bodies.

We call on the NEC to maintain and strengthen a diverse culture of responsible free speech, discussion and debate within the party.